Jan 1, 2012

Sunday January 1, 2012 Gia Christian

Theme: January First - J sound (first letter in January) is inserted into familiar phrases, resulting in spelling changes in four theme entries, which are symmetrically placed.

23A. Advice to a nervous skier? : KILL THE JUMP. Kill the ump.

25A. Hot air in the conference room? : JARGON GAS. Argon gas.

43A. "Eat my wake!" e.g.? : SWIMMER'S JEER. Swimmer's ear.

69A. "Ode on a Grecian Urn" genre? : JARS POETICA. Ars Poetica.

94A. Halloween carving of a Yankee hero? : PUMPKIN JETER. Pumpkin eater. This answer made me laugh. Jeter, Jeter, Pumpkin eater.

117A. First punch of an old Roman bout? : JAB INITIO. Ab initio. "From the beginning" in Latin.

120A. Northern African quip? : BARBARY JAPE. Barbary ape.

39D. Multitalented court clown? : POLY JESTER. Polyester. This is the only one-word base phrase.

48D. Nattily dressed Broadway character? : JAUNTY MAME. Auntie Mame.

We also have JAY (121D. Loud bird), which could be used as a unifier. The J in JAM UP (1A. Office malfunction) and JOKE (1D. Monologue bit) is the only straying non-theme J in the whole grid, but they're excellent entries.

Gia Christian is an alias name of LA Times crossword editor Rich Norris, anagram of "Again, it's Rich". We haven't seen Rich's byline in quite some time, though every day he's challenging and entertaining us with his clues. Some solvers may not be aware that very often half of the clues we tackle every day are Rich's creation.


6. Empty the Recycle Bin, e.g. : ERASE. Your computer Recycle Bin.

11. Hit the snooze button too many times : OVERSLEPT

20. Campus town near Bangor : ORONO (Maine)

21. "The Bells of St. __" : MARY'S

22. Persona non grata : BETE NOIRE. I always associate "bete noire" with things, not person.

26. "Don't let it get cold!" : EAT. Yes, Bill G, I cook savoy cabbage occasionally. Their texture is tougher than our normal cabbage. Different taste also.

27. Hi-fi component : PREAMP

28. Where a herd is heard : LEA. Nice clue.

29. H.S. proficiency tests : GEDs

30. Fashion giant : DIOR. And 18D. Big name in fashion : PRADA. The Devil wears them.

31. Prepares, as mussels : STEAMS

35. Crewmate of Spock and Sulu : UHURA. On "Star Trek".

37. Cheats on a test, in a way : COPIES

40. R.E.M.'s "The __ Love" : ONE I

41. Flu 9-Down : AGUE. 9D. Indication : SYMPTOM.

42. Mil. mail drops : APOs

48. Gravy, on menus : JUS. Au jus.

51. High-pitched barks : YELPS

53. Hosp. drama locale, usually : ICU. Reminds me of Buckeye and his Picabo ICU center.

54. Japanese golfer Aoki : ISAO

55. Something in the oven : ROAST. No BREAD.

57. Comparatively crafty : SLYER

58. Bath salt fragrance : LILAC

61. Small-scale : MINIATURE

63. Spokesceleb for Fiat : J LO. Good match?

64. Post-WWI Treasury secretary : MELLON (Andrew). Drew a blank.

66. Girl in a Beach Boys hit : RHONDA. Beach Boys is Dummy Dennis' favorite band.

67. Menlo Park wizard, initially : TAE (Thomas Alva Edison)

73. Wee lad : TAD

74. Not hoodwinked by : WISE TO

77. Big name in little suits : SPEEDO. Look, my favorite! All right, this one for our Saturday guy Splynter.

78. Singer Winehouse : AMY

80. No longer on speaking terms : ESTRANGED

84. Remove paint from : STRIP. Oh, paint.

85. D'Artagnan's chronicler : DUMAS. I only read his "The Count of Monte Cristo".

88. Nicholas Gage bestseller : ELENI. I used to think the book was written by actor Nicolas Cage.

89. "I __ a loss for words!" : AM AT. No Amo, amas, AMAT today.

91. Urgent offshore signal : SOS

92. Barrel support : STAVE

93. "__ Rosenkavalier": Strauss opera : DER

99. "Sounds good to me!" : I'M IN

100. Reject as false : DENY

101. Geometry class calculation : AREA

102. Trojan War warrior : AENEAS. He abandoned poor Dido.

104. "Try to __ my way": Beatles lyric : SEE IT

106. Like some braids : FRENCH. Very pretty.

108. Melbourne greeting : G' DAY. 112A. Eucalyptus lovers : KOALAS. For Kazie, who's probably still in Germany.

109. Resistance units : OHMs

110. Serious conflict : WAR

114. Place to hoist a pint : PUB

122. Covent Garden notable : OPERA STAR. Covent Garden is where the Royal Opera House is. Unknown to me.

123. Concrete hunks : SLABS

124. "Storage Wars" network : A AND E. Got me. "Storage Wars" is a reality show about auctions.

125. Like a couch potato : SEDENTARY

126. Long-eared critters : ASSES

127. Online VIP : SYSOP


2. Bizet's "Toreador Song," e.g. : ARIA

3. Snakes' renewal process : MOLT. Man, I wish I could renew my skin also.

4. Like some phone nos. : UNL, Alright, unlisted.

5. Comfort food in a deep dish : POT PIE. For me, comfort food is rice congee & freshly steamed bread. How about you?

6. Arabian chief : EMEER. AMEER also, though we see EMIR more often.

7. Rani's spouse : RAJA

8. Skunk cabbage and philodendron : ARUMS

10. Eerie ability, for short : ESP

11. Transitive vb. follower : OBJ (Object)

12. Meat-yielding calves : VEALS

13. To be, in Arles : ETRE. Not to be confused with the Art Deco guy ERTE.

14. Measure again : RE-GAUGE

15. Nestlé's __-Caps : SNO

16. Chaise __ : LONGUE

17. Peak in the 59-Down : EIGER. 59D. European peaks : ALPS

19. Hardy heroine : TESS. Thomas Hardy.

24. Reform Party founder Perot : H ROSS

30. Put to rest, as rumors : DISPEL

32. Ship's hdg. : ENE

33. Atmospheric prefix : AERI

34. "Divine" showbiz nickname : MISS M. Bette Midler.

36. "Yay!" : HURRAH. The feeling I had when Lemonade was back to his blogging seat. Hopefully Melissa will be back in Feb.

37. Low isles : CAYS

38. European automaker : OPEL

41. Quite a long stretch : AEON

44. Fictional Stone Age redhead : WILMA. In "The Flintstones".

45. Not as friendly : ICIER

46. Considers carefully, with "over" : MULLS

47. __ alai : JAI

49. Dietary std. : US RDA

50. Stand in good __ : STEAD

52. "No more seats" sign : SRO (Standing Room Only)

56. Plains Indian : OTO

60. Places for chickens : COOPS. In China, prostitutes are called "wild chickens".

62. Certain tax shelter, for short : IRA

65. Nair rival, once : NEET

67. Rough wool cloth : TWEED

68. Seating request : AISLE

69. Bon Jovi of rock : JON

70. Far from verbose : TERSE. My emails are usually short. Just the way I am. I don't mean to be terse.

71. Village celebrity? : IDIOT. I don't get this clue. Why "celebrity"?

72. Small group of trees : COPSE

75. Bird by the beach : ERN. So what's the difference between ERN and TERN?

76. Eastern island capital : TAIPEI. Where Jayce spent some of his youth. Tasty snacks there.

78. Much junk mail : ADs

79. Kind of conspiracy : MUTINY

81. Like venison : GAMY

82. Ruler of anc. Rome : EMP

83. Port of Senegal : DAKAR. Gimme for Chickie, whose grandson volunteers there for Peace Corps.

86. Saucony rival : AVIA

87. D.C. hundred : SENS

90. Fade : TIRE

95. Work the kinks out of : UNTWIST

96. Former Giants pitcher Robb : NEN. You've got to commit his name into memory. Constructors have no other way to clue NEN but "Pitcher Robb".

97. African scavengers : JACKALS

98. Pitching coach's aid : RADAR

100. Appetite : DESIRE

103. Undemanding classes : EASY A's

104. Mold : SHAPE

105. Nestle securely : EMBED

106. Monastery resident : FRIAR

107. Wedding dances : HORAs. I've never attended a Jewish wedding.

108. "The __ Menagerie" : GLASS

109. Eyes, in Oaxaca : OJOS

111. "__ girl!" : ATTA

113. Songstress Lane : ABBE. Nope. Not familiar with this lady.

114. Two-thumbs-down reviews : PANS

115. Salon style : UPDO

116. Answering machine cue : BEEP

118. Bert Bobbsey's twin : NAN. I like this clue better than "Indian bread", which should be NAAN.

119. Suffix with access : ORY. Accessory.

120. Webelos' org. : BSA

Answer grid.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2012!


Dec 31, 2011

Saturday, Dec 31, 2011, Doug Peterson & Brad Wilber

Theme: None

Words: 68

Blocks: 34

PHEW ~! This offering from two of our regular constructors really forced me to dig down deep, and there was a point when I thought "I'd better give in", but I held my ground and got my "Ta-Da", and under my personal allotted time, too. Doug Peterson has contributed several times to other Saturday 'gridsmiths', and has possibly set a record for having his name associated with 4 (LAT) puzzles in a month - this month. Of course, Brad is no slouch, either, with 8 Saturday puzzles this year, and one other Saturday contribution from both guys, Feb 5th this year.

So we had FIVE (5!) grid spanners in this one:

14A. Flock tender : RELIGIOUS LEADER - Well, I knew it was something like this, but I was also thinking it might just be a reeeeally long version of "shepherd"

17A. Style eschewing heavy sauces : NOUVELLE CUISINE - Never heard of this style, but I do know our group here at the blog has shared many a recipe over the time I have been visiting.

35A. Brain cramp, so to speak : LAPSE IN JUDGMENT - More commonly known around here as a Brain "Fart"

55A. 1926 novel set in Pamplona : THE SUN ALSO RISES - One of those "oh, I know this, I just need some letters to suss it out" - and I think I had T--SU------IS-S, and I ducked before the V-8 can bonked me

57A. 1970s Patrick Duffy title character who can breathe underwater : MAN FROM ATLANTIS - I know who he is, in terms of "Dallas", but never heard of this show - here you go, ladies

Onward ~!


1. Removes, as a backpack from one's shoulder : UNSLINGS - Well, I figured it was UN-, so I tried SLINGS, and didn't look back

9. Described in letters : SPELT - Shall we start a dispute over SPELLED? I thought it was "written on paper" letters, so I tried WROTE first.

18. Was Grinch-like, in a way : SNEERED - Timely, but I only like the cartoon version of this classic

19. Trattoria offering : RISOTTO - Makes me think of Chef Gordon Ramsay from "Hell's Kitchen"

20. Pros with schedules : CPAs - Certified Public Accountants

22. Assemblage : BODY

26. Pillow stuff : FOAM - Not Down (the other down is further down, uh, lower)

27. Fab : BOFFO

32. 1840s-'50s antislavery party : FREE SOIL - The Wiki, I do not recall discussing this in American History

34. Symbol of Middle America : PEORIA -

37. Like Schoenberg's "Moses und Aron" : ATONAL - Well now, we just talked about this yesterday - and another link - Egad ~!!!

38. Enjoying the mall, say : ON A SPREE - SHOPPING fit, too, but then I knew one "E" was right, so I WAGed this, and ha ~!

39. Wyoming's __ Range : TETON - Again, one of those "oh~! I know this...."

40. Pride of the pumped-up : PECtoralS - and another for the ladies

41. Wagnerian title? : HERR - German title

42. Indiana senator who retired in 2011 : BAYH

43. Do something about : ACT UPON - Funny, this my first thought, and yet I didn't try it

48. Island classic : ALOHA 'OE - Total and undeserved WAG, I stuck the "O" & "E" at the end because I had no clue otherwise

58. Move sneakily : SIDLE - Not SLINK

59. Revealing : TELL-TALE


1. Some museum pieces : URNS - Why not? The "U" of which I was fairly certain

2. Its atomic number is 10 : NEON - Again, the "N" was good, what else could it be~?

3. Turn about : SLUE - OK, now my SLINGS is starting to work....

4. Glowing, as coals : LIVE - Ah, but then again, I could not think of an "L" word that meant 'hot' or 'afire' - LIVE is good, but....

5. Eisner's Disney successor : IGER - Don't know this guy

6. Livingstone explored it : NILE

7. Crown in the Henry VIII era, e.g. : GOLD COIN - Crown as in money

8. Only non-rhyming ghost in Ms. Pac-Man : SUE - Blinky, Pinky, Inky and "Mr." Pac-Man's fourth, do you know~? I do, I do ~!

9. Dos into doce : SEIS - Well my foreign math is completely OFF - I was very proud I got 10 ÷ 2 = 5, and that's CINC, no, SEIS - HA~! I SO know my Italian ~!!!! (Spanish, 12/2=6)

10. __ Robles, California : PASO - Map

11. Drop a line, maybe : EDIT - I had OMIT, and in a play, this is totally reasonable

12. Advanced : LENT

13. Big name in 34-Down : TREO - Have to admit, this cyclic clue actually HELPED me today - I had --EO, and --AS, and I threw in TREO, and the light bulb gave me 34D. Some email receivers : PDAs - Personal Data Assistants, which I think I had last Saturday, too

15. "Bug off!" : SCRAM

16. Aparicio of Cooperstown : LUIS - as always, I defer to our most highly appreciated host (From C.C.: Every year we splurge on Topps Heritage cards. One of our best pulls is an autographed Luis Aparicio card (in limited number).

21. Musical based on an O'Hara novel : PAL JOEY

22. Key of the last Brandenburg concerto : B FLAT - don't be flat, be positive~! - no that's blood type - oh well, if you knew that you would be "A SHARP" person....

23. Declaim : ORATE - nah, I wanted STATE here

24. Stop on a line : DEPOT - a Clecho of 11D, this 'line' is a railroad; took me a while

25. Not open-ended, as a question : YES/NO

26. Flexible weapon : FOIL - the recently in hiding "EPEE" of crossword fame

27. Appeals : BEGS

28. Brio : OOMPH

29. Nice sibling : FRÈRE - Nice the French city. Earworm ~!

30. More luxuriant : FINER

31. Film that often includes drawings : OATER - ugh ~! Drawing, as six-shooters at high noon in a gun-slinging (hey~!) western

33. Dramatist O'Casey : SEAN

36. Opposite of 47-Down : UNCHASTE & 47D. Immaculate : PURE

40. Clipper airlines : PAN AM

42. Pro follower : BONO - Legal Lemonade

43. Casino conveniences : ATMs - an alteration on our CW staple - Casinos love 'em~!

44. Indian tea : CHAI

45. Look after : TEND

46. QB Jim Kelly was its 1984 MVP : USFL - Yeah, I remember this, but at first I thought BOWL, but knew it was an abbr.

49. Use the hammock : LOLL

50. Like some traditions : ORAL

51. Trace : HINT

52. 1930s-'40s mystery film scene stealer : ASTA

53. Part of le visage : OEIL - meh, French

54. To be, to Tiberius : ESSE - I took Latin for four years - helps my English and crossword skills

56. GPS determination : LATitiude

Answer grid.


(OK, one for the guys before the end of the year....)


Dec 30, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011, Marti Duguay-Carpenter

THEME: The old reverse, a DOSE DOUBLE of our own Marti, blogging and constructing. Each of the theme answers are alliterative familiar phrases where the original first words are reversed with the second word clued to inspire much hilarity. It is always a special day to write up the work of one of our own, our New England nightingale, Marti. This was almost an easy Friday but it had pitfalls.

18A. Daily take in the Lumber department? : BOARD BREAD. A Bread Board is a cutting board for Pain (french for bread) rather than money derived from the sale of wood.

23A. Revenue in Lingerie?: SLIP SALES. Don't let your wife see the SALES SLIP from Victoria's Secret, unless you bought it for her.

40A. Outlay in Electronics?: POWER PURCHASING. You must have lots of Purchasing Power to keep up with all the electronic devices to buy.

51A. Merchandise capacity in Men's Wear?: SUIT SPACE. Do you own a SPACE SUIT? Halloween? I do not own many suits anymore, so my closet has lots of space.

60A. Display case in Wine & Spirits?: STILL STAND. The traffic was at a STAND STILL. STILL being the abbreviation for Distillery.

Nice long theme fill, now lets see the rest...


1. Constantly: EVER. I am constantly amazed at the talent in our group.

5. Numbers, e.g : DATA.

9. Longing words: I HOPE. I hope Marti and I puzzle and amuse you.

14. New Zealand fruit : KIWI.

15. Open-mouthed: AGOG. An A word.

16. Cinched, with "up: SEWED.

17. Univ. seniors' tests: GRES. Graduate Record Examinations.

20. Broods: SULKS.

22. Currency of Freetown: LEONE. The Capitol and Capital of Sierra Leone.

26. Guys' mates: GALS. What about DOLLS? (3:14) Surprised?

30. Rash protection: TALC. Next time I contemplate doing something rash I need to get some powder!

31. Over the top: TOO TOO. Tootsie goodbye.

33. "Third Rock From the Sun" family, e.g : ETS. Our old extraterrestrial friends. John Lithgow is a fine actor.

36. There's often a colon in one: RATIO. 35:7 as 5:?

39. India's first prime minister : NEHRU. Jawaharlal was more than a Jacket

43. Jejune: INANE. from the Latin Jejunus, empty of food.

44. Spider-Man Parker: PETER. Alliterative alter ego. Fits the theme.

45. "Don't think so": NAH.

46. First tea sold in individual packets: SALADA. But Lipton introduced the flow through tea bag.

48. Cupid counterpart: EROS. Roman and Greek.

50. Blondie drummer Burke: CLEM. Wow, this was obscure for me, and I liked Debbie Harry.

56. Pianist Gilels et al : EMILS. If you don't name two, why plural? Unknown to me LINK.(4:09)

58. Outcast: EXILE.

65. Shamu, for one: ORCA. What a nice way to say killer whale.

66. "Hill Street Blues" actress: HAMEL. VERONICA.

67. Life-of-the-party type: RIOT.

68. "JAG" spin-off: NCIS. My brother's favorite show, I have just started to watch.

69. Fail to hold up, as a bank: ERODE. Really witty clue, not a money bank, a river bank.

70. Contributes: ADDS. To the delinquency of a minor?

71. Band with the debut album "Diamond Life": SADE.

Okay, the rest.


1. ER lines: EKGS. How appropriate for me.

2. Bug: VIRUS.

3. Controversial Gettysburg general: EWELL. You AGREE?

4. Take a gamble: RISK IT. Along with 10D. Words before a stunt: HERE GOES. Nothing...

5. Blot away, as a tear: DAB. How many other than me thought of Brylcreem when the answer appeared?

6. Back in time: AGO.

7. "__ the Girls I've Loved Before": Nelson/Iglesias hit: TO ALL. LINK.(3:06)

8. Go along: AGREE. needed between husbands and wives, see below.

9. Dust jacket no.: ISBN. International Standard Book Number.

11. Be in debt: OWE.

12. Green shade: PEA. Better than pee red.

13. Byrnes of "77 Sunset Strip": EDD. Known as Kookie.

19. "__ thou love me?": Juliet: DOST. Did anyone watch Letters to Juliet?

21. Bickered: SPARRED. verbal sparring, see below.

24. __ shot : SLAP. Hockey term and a possible answer for the theme.

25. Go on the fritz: ACT UP. Do you think the phrase on the fritz is onomatopoetic?

27. "It's __ line between love and hate": 1971 song lyric: A THIN. Not only a song lyric, by the Persuaders, but as one who practiced divorce law for a very short time, it is all too true.

28. Doone in Exmoor: LORNA. By Richard Doddridge Blackmore, she was a sharp cookie.

29. Murmuring sound: SOUGH. Pronounced 'sou' my learning moment.

32. Like some soap: ON A ROPE. More American marketing genius, just don't drop it in the shower.

33. Certain Prot : EPISC.Opalians. Marti's Meh for the day.

34. Like Schubert's music: TONAL. As opposed to the work of Arnold Schoenberg, LISTEN.(4:11)

35. Wet lowland: SWALE. They all belong to the city in Ft. Lauderdale.

37. Anger: IRE. Grrrr.

38. Certain chamber music group: OCTET. Our word of the week, maybe if we see it eight times...

41. Like much Le Creuset cookware: ENAMELED.

42. Oft-embroidered word: HERS. Or His on the towels.

47. Yard sale proviso: AS IS. Most foreclosed homes are sold this way.

49. Battle of Hastings fighters: SAXONS. Fought in 1066 with the Normans.

52. Extreme: ULTRA. Remember ULTRAVIOLENCE? (2:07)

53. "Huh?" response opening: I SAID. Weren't you listening DEAR!

54. About: CIRCA. From the Latin meaning around, approximately.

55. 1961 Heston role: EL CID. A true classic MOVIE.(3:27)

57. M.'s counterpart: MLLE. M. is the French abbreviation for Monsieur (Mr.), MLLE for Mademoiselle (Miss).

59. Simplicity: EASE. We are on a roll now.

60. Petal-plucking pronoun: SHE. Loves, She loves me knot?

61. Main man?: TAR. The bounding Main, nice clue.

62. Chatspeak qualifier: IMO. In My Opinion.

63. Approval of a kind: NOD. Nod my first choice.

64. Some NFL linemen: DTS. Defensive Tackles. I was a bit defensive when I first tackled this fun Friday, but it is now done and time to get ready for a new year. Peace and good health to all. Well my work here for the year is done. By next year I may have my strength and wit back, until then enjoy.

Answer grid.

Lemonade 714

Note from C.C.:

Here are a few wonderful photos Husker Gary took of his local golf course. Click Next to view all of them. I've never seen a green so brown.

Dec 29, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011 Ed Sessa

Theme: Music To My Ears! (But only if I listen!)

17A. *Fifth amendment right: DUE (Do) PROCESS OF LAW

25A. *Decorator’s forte: EYE(I) FOR DETAIL

46A. *No place in particular: HERE (Hear) AND THERE

59A. *End of an old pasta product jingle: UH (A) OH SPAGHETTIOS

66. Disney et al., or when added to the starts of the starred answers, a 1965 musical (listen!): WALTS (Waltz)

And you do have to “listen” to the starts of the starred answers to get this theme, “Do I Hear a Waltz?”, which is a rather obscure musical by Arthur Laurents, with music by Rodgers and lyrics by Sondheim, from a 1952 play “The Time of the Cuckoo”, also the basis for the1955 film “Summertime” starring Katherine Hepburn. Whew!

I won’t say how long it took me to “get” this one. But it was satisfying to finally get it, after all. I can’t say if other solvers would be enamored of this theme, but as a constructor, I thought it was absolutely brilliant! To find five entries that make up the title of a musical, including a pluralization of a pronoun (“Walts”), with each word an exact homophone of the corresponding movie title just astounds me. Kudos to you, Ed Sessa, and do stop by today and let us know what was the seed entry for this one? My guess would be “Walts”?!?

Marti here, so let’s get crackin’ on the rest of this bad boy:


1. 16-Across's style : SCAT. Hoo boy, we start right off the bat with a cross referential clue. So, let's skip that one for now. Because [16A. 1-Across singer : ELLA] didn't give me much to go on...(maybe some perps can help???)

5. Step like Bigfoot : TROMP. I would much prefer a clue like "Step on the accelerator, like on the autobahn..."

10. Panache : DASH. Someone who has panache is "dashing", or they could just be going o'er the fields in a one horse open sleigh.

14. Two-time Italian prime minister Moro : ALDO. Kidnapped by the infamous Italian left-wing Red Brigade, and then killed.

15. Writer who said, "I am not young enough to know everything" : WILDE. Oscar.

20. Factor in the Andrea Doria/Stockholm collision : DENSE FOG. In what could have been an epic disaster on the scale of the Titanic sinking, "only" 46 people lost their lives off the coast of Nantucket in this accident.

21. Water pipes : MAINS. Anyone else think of these?

22. Flamenco shout : OLE

23. Portmanteau name for an O-Cedar cleaning product : SCRUNGE. For "scrubbing sponge".

30. Shower accessory : LOOFA.

31. "___ out?": dealer's query : IN OR. I ask my cats that all the time...

32. Wall map marker : TACK

36. Navigational suffix : ERN. East-ern, south-ern, west-ern, north-ern. Or, this crosswordese sea bird.

37. Bleach : DECOLOR. Hmm, do you know any "decolored" blondes?

40. Magic org. : NBA. Hah! I am finally "getting" these clues for Magic, Jazz, etc.

41. Tuxedo part : VEST

43. Word game piece : TILE. I am playing online scrabble with my BFF of 47 years. The TILEs are quite realistic!

44. V8's veggies, e.g. : OCTET. Duh, a real V8 moment, when I realized that the "8" in V8 refers to the number of veggies in there!!

49. Thickness measurer : CALIPER. Or, how long it takes me to do the crossword at 11:00 at night...

52. Sit in a cellar : AGE. I showed Dudley my wine cellar today, but the wines in there don't sit very long.

53. Have because of : OWE TO. Awkward one to clue.

54. As a point of fact : ACTUALLY.

62. Woody scent : PINE. Can't you just smell it?

63. Firefighter Red : ADAIR. Can never remember his name until I fill in a few perps...

64. Lieutenant Tragg creator Gardner : ERLE

65. Cast topper : STAR. I thought of Yellowrocks and her recent cast.

67. Raise : REAR


1. Teen safety gp. : SADD. Students Against Drunk Driving.

2. Lead for Poirot : CLUE

3. Port of Yemen : ADEN. Geography lesson for the day. (You might want to zoom out a bit...) (...OK, maybe a lot)

4. Caps : TOPS OFF

5. Broadway deal : TWO-FER. Why "Broadway"? Isn't any two-for one sale a "deal"?

6. Suitor of 57-Down : RICO. Another cross-reference. But at least this one had some meat to latch onto in the referential clue: [57D. "Copacabana" siren : LOLA]. (Do we really want to hear a link to the Barry Manilow ear worm again?) (....nah, didn't think so!!) (Just hum it to yourself...) (C'mon, you know the words!!) ("Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl. With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there...") (hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm...)

7. Designer Cassini : OLEG

8. OR workers : MDs

9. Latin foot : PES. Masculine, third declension. Genitive = "pedis". Just take my word for it, and move on...

10. Assumed value : DEFAULT. Anyone else have a problem with this definition? I thought de fault was all in de failure of de guy to pay his debt.

11. Plumb tuckered out : ALL-IN. In Texas Hold-em poker, an "All-in" bet means putting all your remaining chips into the pot. Maybe it's because the player is plumb tuckered out and just wants to go back to his hotel room to get some sleep?

12. Much street talk : SLANG. So they can sound kewl...

13. Ship's anchor hole : HAWSE. How's that for a clue, Spitzboov?? (I know, the pronunciation is more like "hoz". But I'm from New England, so I can make up any pronunciation I want!)

18. Prepare to shoot again : RELOAD. Guns or cameras?

19. Katz of "Hocus Pocus" : OMRI. This kid.

23. Hot : STOLEN. Great clue/answer!

24. Dear, to Donizetti : CARO. My chance to link opera! (3:04) Giuseppe Giordani is credited for composing the song "Caro Mio Ben" in his opera "L'Epponia", but it is suggested that the song actually pre-dated it by some 50 years.

25. Shasta no. : ELEV. For some reason, I filled this in without even thinking about it.

26. Days gone by : YORE

27. A really long time : EONS

28. More touch-and-go : DICIER

29. ___ Gay : ENOLA

33. Opening stake : ANTE

34. Transmitting trucker : CBer. Do truckers still use CB radios? Or are they all wireless internet texters now? Scary thought...

35. Hudson of "Almost Famous" : KATE. She's so pretty, I don't know why she hides half her face with her DECOLORED hair.

38. To be, in Paree : ETRE. (Abejo - maybe Santa will bring you RosettaStone next Christmas?)

39. Cheap hooch : ROTGUT...oooohhhh, brings back memories of those nights in college that I spent laying there clinging to the grass for dear life, because I was afraid I would fall off the lawn...

42. Toward that place, to Shakespeare : THITHER...and yon.

45. Proctor's concern : CHEATER

47. Long verse : EPOS

48. Antique dealers, at times : DATERS. I wonder if they meet their dates on

49. Masterstrokes : COUPS

50. At all : A WHIT

51. Hotelier Helmsley : LEONA

54. "(I've Got ___ in) Kalamazoo" : A GAL. If anyone called me a "gal" these days...
I'd probably kiss him for thinking I was so young.

55. Voucher : CHIT

56. Currency discontinued in 2002 : LIRE. Plural of "lira", the old Italian currency. When I lived in Italy in 1988, a bottle of water (1 liter) cost 2000 lire. A bottle of the local wine was 1000 lire. Guess what I drank?

58. Strategic WWI rivr : YSER

60. Hillbilly relative : PAW.

61. Org. for drillers? : ADA. American Dental Association

Answer grid.

So now I'm plumb tuckered out, and off to bed!



Dec 28, 2011

Wednesday December 28, 2011 Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Knock-knock. Who's There? For good or for ill, the root of many jokes. Share your favorites in comments. Theme song No. 1. Theme song No. 2. Here, the theme answers end in a word that is synonymous with KNOCK. Knock can be a forceful physical contact, or severe criticism - as used here.

17A. Ice Cube genre : GANGSTA RAP. Ice Cube is a rap artist. I will not link. But OTOH, I will not give him a bad RAP.

25A. It's not as bad as the fire, metaphorically : FRYING PAN. From the FRYING PAN to the fire is just making a bad situation worse. A critic would PAN that action.

37A. Bases loaded opportunity : GRAND SLAM. This occurs when you bid and make a contract to take all 13 tricks. Wait. Hold on - this is from C.C. so we must have baseball. That GRAND SLAM is a home run hit with the bases loaded. Would you SLAM me for referring to bridge?

52A. All out : FULL BLAST. Holding nothing back. Amping it up to 11. Blogging this puzzle is a BLAST, so I won't BLAST it.

And the unifier: 61. Start of a joke, either part of which is synonymous with the ends of 17-, 25-, 37- and 52-across : KNOCK-KNOCK. Who's there? Jamaican. Jamaican who? Jamaican me stand out in the cold. (I was Jamaican that up.)

Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa, and that's no joke. Our dynamic - and prolific - duo has come up with another Wednesday challenge. Are we up to it?


1. Actor Alan: LADD. We could also include Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor, who married Alan LADD's son David, and kept her married name after their divorce, probably because it's easier to spell. Actually I think Cheryl is more of a lass.

5. Vegas draw, with "the" : STRIP. The L.V. STRIP is a little over 4 miles of Las Vegas Blvd. extending outside the city limits, and home to many tourist attractions.

10. Pumped ride : BIKE. You pump up the tires, and peddle it all over town - until you get tired.

14. Cookie shaped like two of its letters : OREO. I don't know of any cookies shaped like R's and E's

15. Hot and bothered : IRATE. Angered. That is one interpretation. Vide infra.

16. Like some graffiti: Abbr. : ANON. Anonymous. Unsigned artwork.

19. Bar flier : DART. Darts are thrown in bars and pubs. Clever play on "bar fly."

20. Molding that sounds like two letters : OGEE, Oh, gee, It looks like an "S."

21. "The Big Easy" golfer : ELS. Ernie. "Big Easy" is his nickname. I did not know that.

22. Legal suffix : ESE. I dont speak legalESE.

23. Faun-like deity : SATYR. Perpetually hot and bothered mythical goat-man entity. Knock-knock. Who's there? It's a SATYR. It's a SATYR who? It's a SATYRday night. C'mon out and party, you old goat.

28. Size up : EYE-BALL. This could mean study carefully, ogle, or make a rough visual estimate. Knock . . . on second thought, we'll let this one go.

30. Prolonged pain : AGONY.

31. City near Pheonix : MESA. Also, third largest in the state, after Phoenix and Tucson. Number 10 is a Surprise.

32. Dog bones destiny, perhaps : BURIAL. Do dogs really do this, or is it only in cartoons?

36. Macavity creator's monogram: T.S.E. T.S. Elliott takes us from dogs to CATS. Macavity is one of the jellicles.

40. U.S. Airways has one in Phoenix : HUB. Back to Arizona. An airline hub is an airport used as a transfer point among major destinations.

43. Sitcom planet people : ORKANS. In the TV series Mork and Mindy, Mork was from Ork, and Orson was still there. Knock knock Who's there. Mork. Mork who? Mork canned laughter - it's TV! Nanu, nanu!

44. Big name in direct sales : AVON. Ding-dong. Who's there? Avon: Purveyor of makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body products, marketed right inside your home (if you let them in), and famous for their trade mark, "AVON calling" tag line.

48. Pasta pkg. purchase : ONE LB. Oodles of noodles? Nope, only ONE LB.

50. Fifi's "Wow!" : OOH-LA LA. From we learn: The French phrase oh là là isn't so much an expression as an interjection. It can indicate surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance... any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done. It can be strengthened with additional là's, always in pairs. I guess WOW! works. Maybe even in a SATYRical way.

56. Draw a bead on : AIM AT. EYE BALL the thing in your sights.

57. Hefty sandwich : SUB. SUBmarine, hoagy, grinder, Dagwood . . .

58. Philosophy ending : ISM. Suffix for any belief system, not necessarily philosophical.

59. Therefore : ERGO. We just has this one yesterday, ERGO, the word for the week.

60. Gambit : RUSE. I wanted PLOY. Either way, a cunning or devious action used to gain an advantage.

65. "Very funny!" : HA-HA. Likely response to a KNOCK-KNOCK joke.

66. Goosebump-inducing : EERIE. Weird, outre, spooky . . .

67. Morales in movies : ESAI. One of those movie lads.

68. Lena of "Chocolat" : OLIN. Definitely a lass.

69. More than fear : DREAD. Of something EERIER, perhaps.

70. Actor Bruce : DERN. We could include Laura and have a father-daughter acting pair. Just to bring it full circle, Laura's mother is actress Diane LADD, who is related to Tennessee Williams, but not to Alan LADD. Can't keep them straight without a program.


1. Regular record : LOG. A ship's captain, frex., would make daily entries in the ship's LOG

2. Palindromic Altar : ARA is Latin for Altar, it is one of the 48 constellations described in the 2nd Century by Ptolemy, and one of the 88 recognized by the International Astronomy Union.

3. Indicates : DENOTES. Frex: the fourth line on the treble clef DENOTES D notes.

4. Takeout request : DOGGY BAG. For taking left overs. out of the restaurant I just ask for a box.

5. Online destination : SITE. Like this blog. I like this blog.

6. Singing syllable : TRA. Nonsense non-word, sometimes found in songs.

7. Harder to find : RARER.

8. Apennines locate : ITALY. The mountainous backbone of the Italian peninsula.

9. Soft drink choice: PEPSI. Some chose Coke.

10. Good for nothing : BAD EGG. Probably not as bad as an evil doer, villain, or black hat.

11. Up the creek : IN A SPOT. Or in a fix.

12. Seoul mates? : KOREANS. Seoul is the capital of Korea. Capital Korean lovers would be Seoul mates. So, is the Korean National Anthem Seoul Music?

13. Tonsillitis M.D. : E.N.T. Ears, Nose and Throat specialist. M.D. is a hint that the answer will be an abbreviation.

18. Fluids in shots : SERA. Plural of serum

23. Divinity sch. : SEM. Seminary. 'Nother Abbrv.

24. Seamans' agreement : AYE. Nautical talk for "Yes."

25. Fail : FLUNK. You could get slammed for dong that.

26. Disney lioness : NALA. From The Lion King.

27. "Science Guy" Bill : NYE. He explained everything.

29. Angle iron : L-BAR. Is this better than I-Bar?

33. Old vitamin no. : R.D.A. Recommended Daily Allowance. Now it's D.V. - Daily Value.

34. Playground retort : IS NOT. Is too. Is not . . .

35. To boot : ALSO.

38. Lynda Bird's married name : ROBB. President Johnson's elder daughter Linda married Marine Captain Charles Robb after being engaged to Bernard Rosenbach, whom she dropped to date actor George Hamilton. Robb went on to be Lieutenant Governor and then Governor of Virginia, and later two-term senator from Virginia.

39. Bad-mouthed : MALIGNED. A bonus synonym for KNOCKED.

40. Pro football's is in Canton, Oh. : H.O.F. Hall Of Fame.

41. Strange : UNUSUAL. Less than EERIE.

42. "The Blues Brothers" co-star : BELUSHI. John, along with Dan Akroyd, were Famous Chicago Blues Men.

45. "Scram!" : VAMOOSE. Get outta here! A corruption of Spanish vamanos.

46. Pay extension? : OLA. A suffix. PayOLA was an illegal scheme to bribe radio stations to plug certain pop music songs, back in the 50's.

47. Old "King" Cole : NAT. Yes, he was called "King" back in the day. Can't pass up the chance to show him a little LOVE. (From his last recording session.)

49. J.Crew rival : L.L. BEAN. Mail order clothing and accessories.

51. "Listen!" : HARK. Pay attention!

53. Went for : LIKED.

54. Actor with seven Emmys : ASNER. Ed. He was great as Lou Grant.

55. Gooey treat : S'MORE. Toasted marshmallow and a chocolate square tucked between graham crackers. One good way to get sticky fingers.

59. Squeezed (out) : EKED. This frequently gets squeezed into crossword puzzles.

60. P, to Plato : RHO. The Greek letter RHO looks like a "P", but is really an "R." Confused? This should be easy as PI.

62. "The Company," briefly : C.I.A. A TV miniseries from 2007 about the Central Intelligence Agency's operations over the decades following WW II.

63. Golf, for one. : CAR. Automobile - a Volkswagen, to be specific.

64. Mom and pop : KIN. In our family, it's all relative.

Answer grid.

Well, that about RAPs it up. Hope you had a BLAST like I did.



Here is a note from C.C. & Don:

"Our original unifier for this puzzle is SMEAR CAMPAIGN (to be placed in the very middle of the grid). Rich felt SMEAR has an indication of falseness in it, while our other criticism words do not. He suggested "knock". Don and I went with KNOCK KNOCK and revised our other theme entries."

Dec 27, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 Jeff Chen

Theme: Things Are Looking Up - Four types of skies sit atop the four tallest column entries with the unifier in the center.

4D. Bogeyman deterrent, so it's said : NIGHT LIGHT

8D. Organization leader, in slang : BIG ENCHILADA

21D. Unobstructed progress : CLEAR SAILING

32D. Chatterbox's output : BLUE STREAK

26D. Airport handlers, and in a way, what the first words of 4-, 8-, 21- and 32-Down are : SKYCAPS

Argyle here. I am a bit confused by the unifier. In what way are NIGHT, BIG, CLEAR, AND BLUE considered to be SKYCAPS? Because they are in capital letters? I was feeling this was meh at the start, until I saw 8-Down and then things perked up. I should have noticed from the grid that the themes were in the vertical. Although 42-Across(plural HE) sets my teeth on edge, Jeff has given us decent Tuesday fare.


1. Prayer ender : AMEN

5. Plant used as flavoring : HERB

9. Galaxy downloads : APPs. Ares Galaxy is a popular P2P file sharing application. Now if somebody can explain what that is, we're all set. Alternate explanation: Galaxy refers to the popular Samsung smartphone. (Thank you, John.)

13. Underworld figure : DEVIL

15. Jai __ : ALAI

16. Hilarious thing : RIOT

17. All the world, to Shakespeare : STAGE. And we are but players.

18. Building extension : WING

19. Wild about : INTO

20. Farm peeper : CHICK. I know a few of us can remember getting those little peepers through the mail. My goodness, you still can! Site.

22. Unintended radio broadcast silence : DEAD AIR

24. Merciless : BRUTAL

26. Squeal like a stoolie : SING

27. Little piggy : TOE. And squealed, "Wee, wee wee, all the way home". Not considered singing.

28. Authentic : REAL

29. "A mouse!" : "EEK!". Another squeal.

31. Castro's smokes : CUBANS. He gets them at the source.

33. Against : ANTI

34. Etiquette guru Vanderbilt : AMY

35. "2001" computer : HAL. (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was produced in 1968.

36. B.S., e.g. : DEGree

37. Christina of "The Addams Family" : RICCI. Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams.

39. Salt Lake City collegian : UTE

42. Guys : HEs

44. 2011 Huffington Post acquirer : AOL

45. "It follows that ?" : ERGO. Why the question mark?

47. Prayer incantation : MANTRA

50. Swingers' gp.? : PGA. Pro golfers.

51. Sound of relief : "SIGH". Not to be confused with the huffy sigh or the sigh of resignation.

52. Commotion : ADO

53. Fail to hit : MISS

55. High-tech business : DOT-COM

57. Kook : ODDBALL

59. Get hitched : MARRY

60. "Aha!" : "I SEE!"

61. Tiny bit : IOTA

63. Insurance spokeslizard : GECKO. If the Geico gecko fought the Aflac duck, who would win?

66. Jazz great Getz : STAN. Stan Getz & John Coltrane live in Dusseldorf, Germany(1960) A longer clip than I usually link but hey man .... (9:01)

67. Polish target : NAIL

68. Greek or Caesar follower : SALAD

69. Ratted (on) : TOLD

70. Tiny biter : GNAT

71. Data entry aids : KEYS


1. Commercials : ADs and 41D. Fought-over food in old 1-Down : EGGO

2. Congregated : MET

3. Remove from, as a storm-threatened area : EVACUATE

5. Warmonger : HAWK

6. Inventor Whitney : ELI

7. "Amazing" magician : RANDI

9. Lacking water : ARID

10. Whacked gift holder : PINATA. And the provider of many clips on America's Funniest Home Videos.

11. "Love" concoction : POTION. It took some time but I found the Clovers version with the alternate ending(#10). Clip(1:52)

12. Puts away for later : STORES

14. "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookiee" speaker : LEIA. Star Wars.

23. Liquid in un lago : AGUA. Over in Lago di Como, Italia.

24. "Push-up" garment : BRA. Gotta think of Dennis! Image.

25. Rip apart : REND

30. U.K. record label : EMI. A list of their artists. There is a lot of them, too.

38. Gear part : COG

40. Tot's wheels : TRICYCLE

43. Author Bombeck : ERMA. "The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank" and she's right you know.

46. Resistance measurement : OHM

47. Follower of a Chinese "Chairman" : MAOIST

48. Builds a deck for, say : ADDS TO. Clue/answer seem a little off.

49. Negotiator's turndown : NO DEAL

54. Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry : SLOAN

56. FDA and NFL, e.g. : ORGs

58. Give a little : BEND

59. Beer base : MALT

62. Carrere of "Wayne's World" : TIA. Bra? What bra? Image.

64. Mary __ cosmetics : KAY

65. Pigs out (on), briefly : OD's


From C.C.:

Belated Happy Birthday to Andrea & Steve (???). I've added you to our blog birthday list. Won't miss it next year.

And Happy Birthday to our dashing pilot Dudley. Here are a few beautiful photos from our blog photo archive.